Monday, June 24, 2013

Epic Culinary Wins on Whole30

Ever gone camping? After a day of backpacking, bushwhacking, and skinny-dipping, you cook a stupendous meal of freeze-dried vegetables, tuna in a pouch, and instant noodles-n-sauce, slurp it down, and think, "This tastes AWESOME! I should try this at home!".

Then, at home, of course sanity sets in and you realize that it tasted great because of where you were and what you were doing... and that instant noodles-n-sauce should never grace your table again... until the next camping trip, anyway.

I don't think that's what's going on here, but check back with me in a couple weeks, when Whole30 is a fading memory. At any rate, these are some new finds that have been freaking delicious and that I think we'll keep in the rotation. Unlike the noodles-n-sauce.

Epic Whole30 Culinary Wins, So Far

  • Real fish sauce and anchovies as little salty umami-bombs. We sprinkled a little fish sauce on sauteed kale the other day and it amped the flavor way, way up. And I'd kind of forgotten how cool anchovies are. Gotta get to work on that Caesar salad real soon now...
  • Cabbage slaw for fish tacos. Shredded cabbage, a little green onion and jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. If it sits for 30 min while you fry the fish, it gets just a little tender. Yum.
  • Sauteeing vegetables in roasted chicken drippings. Cabbage (again) was awesome this way.
  • Kale chips for breakfast. Because, why not? I made them with lard, which added an unexpected and delicious slightly porky flavor.
  • Giant salad for lunch. With a big whack of chicken or tuna salad, it's totally satisfying.
  • Homemade mayo. Who knew it was so easy to make? I used a fork and a bowl and it took 10 minutes, tops. (I used light olive oil, not mac nut oil). Great base for chicken/tuna/egg salad -- and I'm not even a mayo fan.
  • Kombucha. Why have I not tried this before? It's a little sour, it's bubbly, it's funky. Like drinking a Berliner Weisse.
  • Dessert parfait: Fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, with coconut milk (canned) poured over the top. Oh MY is this good.

Whole30 Dining Out In Minneapolis, So Far

Haven't done a ton of this, but here are a few good recommendations:
  • Brasa. Little place in Northeast Minneapolis that is a paleo haven. Pulled pork, rotisserie roasted chicken and many of the meat specials are Whole30 compliant, as are many of the vegetable sides. You can eat WELL here for lunch or dinner. Plus there's enough variety for picky eaters, gluten free eaters, and even vegetarians can do pretty well by eating sides. There's great outdoor seating, and thanks to the giant roll-up garage doors, sitting indoors feels like sitting outdoors too, on a fine day. Finally, it's a steal -- a very satisfying two meat, three sides, and a drink fed two of us for $27.
  • Barbette. It's in Uptown, and also has outdoor dining, though it's on the sidewalk. Excellent Whole30/paleo options here, including a daily tartare, raw oysters, salads (like the salmon Nicoise we tried, which was 100% W30 except for the potatoes), vegetables, fish, chicken, and steak. The steak is very good. (But I did miss eating steak frites, which I love). Good service, fun decor, good place.
  • Burch Steakhouse. A new place in Uptown, by the folks who brought us the fabulous Bar La Grassa. We tried it before starting the Whole30, but it's a great place to go for Whole30/paleo food, though costly enough that we'd probably wait for a special occasion. But wow. Grass fed beef, beautifully prepared. Don't miss out on the starters and sides -- we had the roasted cauliflower with anchovies and it was incredible. We also had the lamb tartare, which was good, but next time I would focus on steak and veggie sides, which really shine.
  • Seward Cafe does a nice omelet with a wide choice of veggies. They also have good coffee, espresso, and smoothies.
  • Haven't been there during the Whole30, but it looks like The Bad Waitress could also put together a pretty good breakfast, with omelet options including chicken and chorizo, as well as lots of veggies including avocado. (I don't know if their chorizo is OK or not). Their coffee is from Spyhouse, so it's excellent.
  • What's that? You want fast food? Okay. Two decent options here, Chipotle and Five Guys. At Chipotle, get a salad with carnitas, salsa (not corn salsa, duh), and guacamole. At Five Guys, get a bunless burger with whatever toppings grab you (except ketchup, mayo, cheese, and bacon). Try not to eat the peanuts.

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